Michigan Buddhist Groups Helped Plant 12,000 Trees

May 29, 2009

Author: Staff Writer

Source: American Buddhist Net


Members of a Zen Buddhist temple are among two northern Michigan Buddhist communities that joined 100 churches and temples in planting 12,000 trees across the Upper Peninsula in early May during the 2009 interfaith EarthKeeper Tree Project.

Volunteers planted the 12,000 trees by homes, camps, parks, American Indian reservations and many other places with help from hundreds of children ranging in age from two-years-old to 22-years-old during the interfaith U.P. EarthKeeper Tree Project.

Rev. Tesshin Paul Lehmberg, a Soto Zen Buddhist priest, told the Northern Michigan University EarthKeeper (NMU EK) Student Team Sacred Planet forum how 2,500 years ago "the Buddha sat under a tree" called the Bodhi Tree until he discovered "the root of suffering - and how to rid one's self of suffering."

"The leaf of the Bodhi Tree is one of the symbols of Buddhism, said Lehmberg, head priest of Lake Superior Zendo, a Zen Buddhist temple in Marquette. "It's shaped a little bit like a poplar leaf but it's got kind of a little tail - like a heart with a tail."

"It's said the descendants of this Bodhi Tree are still alive, probably because we want them to be alive. We want this connection between us and the Buddha 2,500 years ago," said Lehmberg, who is also an English professor at Northern Michigan University (NMU).